ISBE Education Priorities Update

April 19, 2001

(217) 782-4648

Springfield – Here is a synopsis of some of the work done in the last month by Illinois State Board of Education staff to meet the State Board’s five education priorities of Standards/Assessment/Accountability; High Quality Educators; Reading and Mathematics; Early Learning (Birth to 8); and Schools in Academic Difficulty.

The complete Board Priority Report is available through the State Board’s Communications division at (217) 782-4648 or on the State Board’s website at

Standards, Assessment, and Accountability

Goal:  Increase the percentage of schools in Levels 3-5 (DeStefano 5-point implementation scale) to 75 percent by the end of FY 2003.

  • Completed ISAT Testing for approximately 650,000 across 5 grades in 7 subjects.
  • Completed all taping for the Interactive CD project demonstrating ISAT rubric connections to Learning Standards.
  • Completed TIMSS data analyses for report to state superintendent.
  • Completed and sent PSAE materials to schools -- working to accommodate all requests: only 43 waivers for hours and instructional time changes and 127 for site changes out of 504 districts that have high schools.
  • Noted 256,523 hits on the Sample ISAT Test between January 1-April 1.

System of Support for Schools

Goal:  Intervene with districts and schools that are in Academic Difficulty so that all students meet or exceed Illinois Academic Learning Standards.

  • Developed a prototype for a System of Support intervention map/website for internal tracking of support and progress in 88 eligible districts.
  • Worked to redefine Quality Assurance to focus on schools eligible for the system of support in accordance with rules and regulations.
  • Worked to provide support to 23 additional districts that are submitting Reading Excellence Act proposals (applications are due May 31 and awards will be announced in June.)
  • Prepared approximately 150 professional development providers, 225 site coordinators and 3,000 teachers to provide the Summer Bridge program in 118 districts.



Goal:  A significant annual increase in the percentage of students in grades 3, 5, 8, and high school will meet or exceed state standards in mathematics so that by 2005, 80 percent of all students will meet and exceed state standards mathematics.

  • Received over 120 applications for the first Mathematics and Science Curriculum Showcase in Bloomington on June 14-15.
  • Since January 1, 2001, the M2T2 Web site has had 98,128 hits. This represents 3,043  “user sessions.”
  • Issued contract for the development of a parent handbook to be distributed statewide during next school year.
  • The Teachers Certification Board approved a program for alternative certification of mathematics and science teachers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Increased ISBE visibility by presenting at the Illinois Section of the Mathematics Association of America Conference to 50 mathematicians about ISBE activities, presenting two sessions at Western Illinois University for its 50th Anniversary Conference to over 200 teachers, and attending the conferences for Association for State Supervisors of Mathematics, National Council for Supervisors of Mathematics, and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.


Goal:  A significant annual increase in the percentage of students in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 will meet or exceed state standards in reading so that by 2005, 80 percent of all students will meet and exceed state standards for reading.

  • Completed the pilot version of the Illinois Snapshots of Early Literacy (ISEL) classroom reading inventory which will be used in kindergarten and first grade Summer Bridges classrooms.
  • Started videotaping in classrooms for the demonstration videotapes that will be included in the 2001 edition of the Reading Kits. Demonstration videotapes will be produced for each of the kits being created this year, for third grade classroom teachers, bilingual/ESL resource, and early reading support.
  • Mailed (and are receiving) 4,000 surveys to principals to determine how many Kits we will need to produce in 2001.
  • Mailed 5,500 letters to principals encouraging participation in “Turn Off the TV Week”, April 23 – 29th, in collaboration with Governor George H. Ryan’s office.
  • Participated in Mayor Daley’s Reading Roundtable (and provided copies of ISBE reading-related resources to the Mayor’s Office for distribution.)

Professional Preparation and Certification

Goal:  Quality Educators.

  • Activated the Illinois Administrators’ Academy Management System (IAAMS) database. Staff members are entering course names and descriptions.  This long-awaited tracking system will be ready for public use in May.
  • The Certificate Renewal Tracking System (CERTS) is under construction and on schedule for a pilot in May.
  • Mailed Certificate Renewal Manuals to over 300 Cook County non-public schools after meeting with the Coalition of Non-Public Schools in Chicago.
  • Developed legislative language regarding Governors State University and its operation of a non-approved school social worker program, at the request of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and South Suburban Cook County legislators.
  • Set new record for number of examinees for the April 7 teacher certification tests.  To date, 10,714 examinees have registered for 13,767 tests, of which 6,881 are registered for Basic Skills.  By comparison, 8,104 examinees took 10,664 tests in January and 9,299 examinees took 12,081 tests in April 2000. 
  • Worked to modify a training package for Local Professional Development Advisory Committees (LPDACs) for Chicago private schools. Scheduling of trainings must occur on Saturdays for some groups while others are requesting late afternoon after-school hours.

Early Learning Initiative Birth Through Eight

Goal:  Build a system that enables all children to achieve Illinois Learning Standards by Grade Three.

  • Conducted Early Childhood Block Grant Bidders' Conference web cast.  Over 260 computers were connected for the April 4 teleconference, which will be available for viewing on the Internet until May 4, when proposals are due.
  • Conducted after-school professional development session for East St. Louis prekindergarten, Head Start, kindergarten staff and district administrators. Sixty persons attended the 3 ½ hour session that focused on assessment, curriculum, and Learning Standards.
  • Completed contract discussions with the University of Illinois for the Early Learning Web Site. The joint project between the State Board and Futures for Kids will provide information on early development and learning to those responsible for the care and education of young children, with a special focus on hard-to-reach parents and caregivers. 
Continued work with the National Center for Early Development and Learning (NCEDL) for the multi-state prekindergarten study. All preliminary site-based data has been submitted, and data collectors are being sought in the East St. Louis and Chicago areas. Next steps include appointing an advisory group for the study, and the identification of the 40 prekindergarten sites to be included in the study. The study will focus on instructional practices in prekindergarten and Kindergarten classes and various components of child outcomes.